On Wednesday, day one of NHL Free Agency, the Boston Bruins acquired forward Jimmy Hayes from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Reilly Smith and the contract of Marc Savard. Later in the afternoon, the Bruins signed forward Matt Beleskey to a five year, $19 million contract.
This is an absolutely brilliant set of moves by Don Sweeney and it now makes the Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic trades worth the while. With the departure of Smith and the Savard money, the Bruins were able to clear enough cap room to go out and sign Beleskey, who is one of the most highly touted free agents on this year's market, and still have a good amount of salary cap money to spare.
Both Hayes and Beleskey are young and extremely skilled players who will bring a lot to the table for the Bruins this upcoming season. It will be interesting to see who plays where, but my guess would be for Hayes to play along side Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, while Beleskey will likely play with David Krejci and David Pastrnak.
While the Bruins were busy adding to their roster, ex-Bruin free agents David Warsofsky signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Matt Bartkowski signed with the Vancouver Canucks. These are not key losses for the Bruins but the B's are definitely going to need new guys to step up and fill in the void of Bartkowski. This is a good sign for those like myself who want to see the newly added Colin Miller in the lineup.
This was a big day for the Boston Bruins. All the people out there bashing the Bruins in the newspapers and on sports talk radio can finally be silenced. The Bruins now have a solid group of top six forwards and have leniency to make more moves throughout the summer. The Bruins still need to figure out their issue of a backup goaltender, as well as maybe signing a free agent defenseman or two, but Wednesday was a win for the black and gold.
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